Zurich and Basel

Last week I went to Zurich to visit K. Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and it is located in North Central Switzerland. Monocle’s 2012 “Quality of Life Survey” ranked Zurich first on a list of the top 25 cities in the world. It was my second visit to Zurich. After a slightly turbulent flight, I arrived in the afternoon on Friday. The weather was terrific with temperatures rising above 30°C. According to K, it had been like that for weeks. Much to his dismay, as he has to walk around in a suit every day.

Upon my arrival, we went to have dinner in Altstadt with our friends, KW and S, who had arrived the night before. We chose an Italian restaurant, Santa Lucia, that belongs to the Bindella chain (restaurants of which you see everywhere in Zurich). Nothing too fancy but still decent.

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Assorted antipasti

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Mozzarella and ham pizza

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Thinly sliced beef carpaccio

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Ravioli with ricotta, served with a buttery sage sauce.
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The next day, we headed out to Basel, the third-largest city in Switzerland and a one-hour drive away from Zurich.

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Crossing the Rhine! The water is so clear here! The Rhine is actually a popular swimming spot. You can get a Rhine swimming bag where you can lie on. The current will take you from one bridge, across the river, to the next bridge or wherever you want to get out. We didn’t do this but the next time I’m here, this will be the first thing on the list!

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A look inside the famous landmark, the Basler Münster.

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We found out that there was a military tattoo show in Basel that day. The Basel Tattoo, an annual military tattoo show performed by international military bands, display teams, and tattoo formations in Basel. It’s unlike anything you’ve seen before!

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We then decided to visit Kunstmuseum Basel. Kunstmuseum Basel houses the largest and most significant public art collection in Switzerland, and is listed as a heritage site of national significance. Kunstmuseum Basel currently displays works from Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, Jan Brueghel, Édouard Manet, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cézanne, Picasso, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Giacomatti and more.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside but I had to take a quick shot of S and KW mimicking Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Die Freunde.

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Characteristic red buildings in Basel. This is the Rathaus / City Hall of Basel.

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Back in Zurich, we had dinner at Adler’s Swiss Chuchi, a restaurant famous for their Swiss cuisine.

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Alright, not exactly Swiss. A creamy salmon risotto.

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But this was. A Swiss cheese fondue with white wine, ham and mushrooms, served with bread and vegetables. This was actually quite delicious!

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Grilled veal with fries.

As S and KW would be heading back to the Netherlands again the next day, we topped off the night with Aperol Spritz.

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The next day, we went up the hills to visit the Zurich university ETH Zurich. The parks up on the hill offer a great view of the city. The view isn’t as magnificent as the view of the city from Uetliberg though, which is where we went the last time.

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We went back to Altstadt for a refreshment. Like I said, temperatures rose to well above 30°C!

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We passed the Grossmünster (“great minster”), a Romanesque-style church.

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There was really only one museum I wanted to visit: the Kunsthaus Zurich! For a more elaborate post of Kunsthaus Zurich, click here.

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But we decided to visit the Rietberg Museum as well. For a more elaborate post of Rietberg Museum, click here.

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Delicious wurst from Sternen Grill, a Zurich hotspot!

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After a long walk, we went decided to relax by the waters of Lake Zurich (Zurichsee). The lake is a popular bathing area where people jump off the diving board or the ridges of Quaibrücke to enjoy a swim in the water.

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There was an Iron Man Triathlon going on that day. We witnessed hundreds of people fighting against the heat to complete their courses. From young to old, people stuck to their running/biking, which was really impressive to see.

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Lastly, we walked up to Seefeld Quarter to visit Le Centre le Corbusier and the Chinese Garden.

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To conclude the trip, we had dinner at the hotel. The burgers there were mad delicious! I ordered the steak burger with barbecue sauce and K had a beef burger with bone marrow. We topped off the evening with several wines from the lounge.

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The next day it was time for me to go home again. Though I only visit Zurich when K is there, it has become a travel sweet spot for us. The friendly people, the clean and neat environment and the beautiful sites make it a pleasant traveling experience. Whether you’re on your way to another city or you’re just visiting to relax, the city definitely has a lot to offer and you’ll not want to miss out! Do keep in mind that the city itself is quite expensive. It is ranked high constantly on the list of most expensive cities in the world. A dinner at an average restaurant will set you back about CHF50 / EUR40.

In case you will be visiting Zurich or Basel any time soon, definitely check out these spots:

Zurich
Kunsthaus Zurich
Rietberg Museum
Uetliberg
Zurichsee
Seefeld Quarter
Centre Le Corbusier
Grossmünster
Fraumünster
Lindenhof
Chinese Garden
ETH Zurich
Bahnhofstrasse

Food: Bindella, Adler’s Swiss Chuchi, Sternen Grill and don’t forget Mövenpick!

Basel
Kunstmuseum Basel
The Rhine
Rathaus
Basler Münster

And if you are traveling to Zurich, try to go on August 1st. It’s the Swiss National Day. Celebrating the independence of the country, there are lots of festivities going on in the city. K just rang and said he’ll be going to Lake Zurich to enjoy fireworks in the evening. Oh yeah, rub it in, why don’t ya!